Stay at home orders across the country have a lot of people getting what they need from online vendors. More people than ever on dependent on deliveries for the basics in life. Luckily we have the technology available to us to find everything we need online, however, a lot of people are wondering is online shopping safe?
The fact is the experts have changed their belief about how long COVID 19 lives on surfaces. How different surfaces affect the timeline of the virus on surfaces. There is just not a lot known about this virus and how it spreads. People are afraid and rightfully so. If the people that we turn to for answers, cannot give answers because they do not know, it can be alarming.
The Fears, the Justified Ones, And the Not So Justified Ones
In this new era brought about by the Coronavirus, consumers are faced with tough decision making. Should they order the ingredients for that comfort food meal online? Will bringing goods into their home, put the people in their home at risk of exposure?
When given the choice between going to the grocery store in person or ordering online and having the goods delivered, clearly, the delivery is the best choice. You are reducing the risk of exposure. However, there are some caveats about shopping online that you need to understand to ensure you are making an informed decision.
Of course, it is not just fear of the virus spreading that is making people wonder is online shopping safe. There is also the fear of scamsters, identity thieves, and other problems with shopping online that is making people ask is online shopping safe.
There are some unfounded fears that are also circulating about is online shopping safe. For example, Corona the beer manufacturer had to stop producing beer because people associated the beer with the Corona Virus. Unfounded fears about transmission are not limited to just a beer that goes by the same name.
Some people are avoiding hiring the web design company that they need to make their products available online to consumers because they believe that the Coronavirus can be transmitted online. It cannot. You can get an online virus, but it is not the same thing.
Facts about the virus as we know them can help you to make the right choices for you and your family moving forward. Knowing the facts about transmission can help you to decide for yourself is online shopping safe.
What Should You Shop for Online?
You should do what makes you feel safe. That should be the first rule of determining what you should shop online. It really does come down to your personal level of comfort. A lot of people are taking the time to really think about what they order online and are considering the following:
- Where do the products come from? A lot of people are thinking twice about ordering handmade leather bags from places like Italy and Asia. Is it being over cautious? Maybe, or maybe not. How important is the country of origin to you regularly? For many people the country of origin has become very important to them during this pandemic. Before you hit that buy button, if you are wondering is it safe to shop online, you may want to consider where the product comes from.
- People are asking themselves “do I really need this item?” In some cases, you will find that you need to shop online for essential goods but other things can wait. There is nothing wrong with being cautious about spending and weighing your options based on needs and wants. Taking a step back and deciding whether you really need that home office furniture right now is actually a very good idea. With economic times being so uncertain, unnecessary spending can be the worst choice right now. Of course, if you are wondering is online shopping safe, there is no better way to reduce fears than simply not shopping right now for unnecessary goods.
- Am I shopping out of need or boredom? What are you shopping for? Are you shopping because you need goods for a new apartment or are you shopping to fill up the hours while you wait for life to return to normal. If there is a risk that this disease can be transmitted by handling goods before they reach you, the more frivolous shopping you do the more you increase your risk. Is this disease transmitted through regular supply chain handling? Maybe, maybe not. Not a great answer, but is it the answer the experts are giving. If it turns out that products shipped can transfer the virus, less shopping may reduce the risk.
There are plenty of things that you can shop online that is absolutely safe. For example, this can be a great time to get that business coaching you been meaning to sign up for. You do not have to handle products, and it is a great way to fill up your time so you are not shopping all day.
Many services are considered essential services like pest control services, but many are not. It can be difficult to find home office furniture right now without ordering online. What can you do to ensure that furnishing your home office does not bring the contagion into your home? Let us look at steps you can take to ensure that the products coming into your home are not going to be a threat to you and your family.
Anything You Order Online Can Be Wiped Down
If you have ordered something from an online source, and you want to be sure that you are taking an abundance of caution, wipe down the package, then wipe down the product. Sometimes it is just better to be safe than sorry.
When the mailman leaves that package at the door, snap on some rubber gloves, and get ready to give the product a good wiping down. Here is how you can handle the package to help increase product safety:
- If you can open your packages outside your home. Open packages on the front porch, and leave the box it comes in outside. It is easier to control things by bringing fewer materials into your home.
- Remove the item, then wipe it down with a disinfectant. You can make your own disinfectant.
- If you can complete the entire process outside that would be the ideal way to do things.
Should I be wiping down groceries? The answer is yes, you should. The bottom line is online shopping safe? Yes, it is as long as you take certain precautions. You can have your comfort food ingredients and eat them too with confidence by taking a few extra steps.
What About the Other Non-Virus Risks?
Keeping online shopping safe from the scammers and identity thieves during this time has a lot of people worried. Keep in mind online safety should always be a priority, but with everyone home because of COVID 19, that means that hackers are having a field day.
There are a few tips for online shopping that actually apply any time you are shopping online but now it is more important than ever to follow these tips:
- Know who you are doing business with. Knowing who you are doing business with is not only important for purchasing tangible products but also important when you are buying services like supply chain management software. You want to be sure that you are doing business with a trusted supplier that takes your online security seriously. Do some background checking about the company and read reviews. Reading reviews can be one of the most valuable tools for decision making about who to do business with.
- Guard your information. It is important that you protect your information. Do not share your information with anyone. Banks, credit card companies, and other businesses will not email you and ask for verification about your credit card numbers, pin numbers and personal information. If you are contacted by any company that does, call the business directly. Scammers are pretty good at what they do, they can make emails look very official. It is important that you move with caution at all times while shopping online.
- A golden rule. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Your email box is going to be full of offers for COVID 19 testing, masks, and more. Nine times out of ten these offers to buy COVID 19 products are going to be scams. There is no secret cure, secret test, secret equipment that is going to work at this time. Do not fall for these leeches that are trying to take advantage of an awful situation.
You can make your online shopping environment safer by doing your part to ensure that you are not feeding the scammers the information that they need to infiltrate your accounts. Other things you should already not be doing is:
- Never Western Union or wire money to anyone. Anyone that is a legit business owner will have other ways to pay that are traceable. If you cannot use a credit or debit card to pay for a product or service then find another vendor. It is 2020, everyone that does business should be able to accept traceable, stoppable, payment methods.
- Don’t give out your banking information. Some scammers will ask you to set up an ACH payment using your checking account, and in the small print, there will be something about canceling your automatic shipments. Many people think they are ordering a product once only to find that they agreed to a “subscription” of the product that taps their bank account every month. It can be really hard to get the money back from your bank in cases like this. Read the fine print and do not give out your banking information.
- Always check reputations. An online reputation can tell you a lot about a vendor. Are other customers happy with the products and services? Are there any complaints about the vendor? A little knowledge can go a long way in protecting you while you shop online.
Another thing you need to look out for when you are shopping online during this pandemic is price gauging. Desperate people will pay desperate prices when they do not need to and unfortunately, many sellers know that this is a great time to take advantage of the situation.
The shelves may be a little bare lately but there is no reason to panic and pay panic prices for goods that will be back in the stores shortly. Online shopping is not regulated when it comes to price gouging like brick and mortar retailers are. Before you buy be sure that you are not greatly overpaying for a product or a service simply because the vendor is hyping up your fear.
One Final Word
This is a scary time for everyone. It is normal to feel anxious about everything in life in this time of uncertainty. You can manage the anxiety that you feel about whether is online shopping safe by making smart choices that you are comfortable with.
If you are worried about is online shopping safe, you can just limit your buying to essential items. Limiting your online shopping to the essential items like groceries, household goods, and personal items can help to calm your fears and wait until later for that new home office furniture.
Online shopping is a lot safer than going to the stores. You may have to adjust what you shop online to help ease some of your anxiety. By limiting your purchases to essential goods you will at the very least be bringing less products into your home.
There is no absolute when it comes to choosing what you shop for online. It is all about your own comfort level. You may have friends and family members that are shopping freely online, and they feel comfortable about it, while you may not feel comfortable about it. That is okay.
Again, is online shopping safe? Yes, it can be a very safe way to get the goods that you need during this pandemic. Shop how you feel comfortable and just be cautious.